History repeated itself once again in Mexico City, as Sebastien Bourdais overcame a polewinner with a broken wrist to take victory in the final round of a Champ Car World Series season.

This time around, however, was less controversy as the four-time champion made his move for the lead well before mid-distance and, a late yellow flag period aside, left the field in his wake to bow out of the championship in style.

Unable to overhaul the injured Will Power off the line, Bourdais bided his time in second place before pouncing on the Australian a couple of laps before both made their first scheduled pit-stop. Despite setting the pace at the head of the field, the two leaders managed to eke more fuel mileage out of their cars than anyone else, pitting beyond the 24-lap mark that was seen as the key to a two-stop race.

Once in front, Bourdais lapped nearly two seconds faster than Power on their respective in-laps to emerge comfortably ahead after being refuelled and fitted with new tyres, and continued the theme to pull out a cushion over the only man who appeared capable of denying him victory.

The fact that Power was in that position, despite racing with two fractures in his left wrist, was because of a bizarre start to the race for Minardi Team USA, which last Dan Clarke to clutch failure on the opening lap, and then saw Robert Doornbos, who had started third on the grid, succumb to a similar problem just three laps in, as the field went green after an early yellow period.

The caution was caused by three cars stalling on the grid - including one other potential race winner, Oriol Servia - which saw the starting order shuffled on the run to turn one, and then reshuffled as race control decided that several moves had been completed under yellow. When the field was released on lap three, Power headed Bourdais, the soon-to-stop Doornbos, Justin Wilson, Paul Tracy and Simon Pagenaud, the Frenchman having had to take avoiding action to miss Servia, his right rear tearing banners from the pit-wall in the process.

Nelson Philippe and Alex Tagliani were the other stallers, at the back of the field, and, along with Servia, opted to pit early in the hope of turning around a Bruno Junqueira-esque performance that may yield a podium. In the end, however, only the Spaniard proved to be a force.

Doornbos' problem, which forced Wilson to execute a high-speed pass after catching the slowing Minardi car on the main straight, appeared to hand the Briton second place on the standings, but, when Wilson then slowed momentarily 13 laps later, efforts in the Minardi pit intensified as the team sensed an opportunity may present itself to reverse fortune.

Minardi had already been hard at work on the Dutchman's machine in an effort to get Doornbos back on track and prevent Power from snatching third overall - fastest lap all that would be needed even if Power won the race - and, when Wilson's RuSPORT team found a way to counteract a fuel pick-up problem and keep running, that was all that was left for Paul Stoddart's outfit. Doornbos duly returned to the track after losing more than 30 laps to the opposition, but made full use of the extra power to pass on tap for Mexico to blitz Bourdais' lap record, setting a new mark at 1min 24.713secs on lap 42 before retiring once again.

Wilson's misfortune allowed Tracy, Pagenaud and Rahal to move up into the top five, and the trio continued to jockey for position, along with PT's rookie team-mate David Martinez, in what was otherwise a largely processional opening period.

However, when Bourdais and Power pitted, having swapped positions when the Frenchman caught his rival napping on lap 24, it was Servia who assumed the lead, his early pit-stop allowing the PKV car to run marginally out of sequence with those around it. The tactic, just as it had for Junqueira in Europe, allowed Servia to climb through the field to put himself in position for a podium in the closing stages.

Martinez lost his opportunity to give the home crowd a top five finish when he ran into gearbox problems that cost him six laps before Forsythe returned him to the fray, but countryman Mario Dominguez was doing his best to give them something to cheer as he hauled the lead Pacific Coast entry from a disappointing 15th on the grid up into the top ten, battling with Junqueira and a subdued Neel Jani despite suffering the after-effects of pneumonia.

Bourdais' run to victory number 31 appeared assured when he emerged from his second and final pit-stop well ahead of Power, but race control threw one last obstacle in his way by calling for a debris-related yellow on lap 54, with about 20 minutes remaining on the event clock. The decision erased Sebas' eleven-second lead and left him potentially a sitting duck as Power closed up behind with a lot more power to pass in the bank after a pre-race penalty had cut a third from the Frenchman's allocation.

Bourdais, however, was in no mood to be deprived of his au revoir and, as the green waved, floored the throttle to again open out a gap over his Australian rival. While the top two positions appeared settled, though, there was action back in the pack as the minor placings were disputed. The key mover was Servia, who followed Tracy past Pagenaud at the restart and then scythed past the Canadian at turn four to move into fourth spot. Not yet done, and with PKV encouraging him to use as much power to pass as he wanted, the Catalan picked another place by ducking inside Rahal - who had also seen his P2P allocation cut before the start - at turn one next time around.

Dominguez, too, was on the move, passing both Wilson and Junqueira to claim seventh at the flag, with Jani also taking advantage of the hobbled Briton to move into ninth. Wilson was the last unlapped runner, with Alex Figge and Philippe one tour back, ahead of Tagliani, whose nightmare weekend ended with his Rocketsports car two laps down.

Despite the problems to hit Wilson, Martinez and, briefly, Pagenaud, there was only one other retirement to add to the two Minardi drivers as Katherine Legge's miserable season ended in familiar fashion, with her Dale Coyne car parked by the side of the road. The Briton had been on course for a possible top ten, and was only a couple of spots behind team-mate Junqueira when the #11 machine quit behind the final pace car.



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